February 10, 2008

The Six Basic Fears From 70 Years Ago (Napoleon Hill)

[Update: It's now 2012, which means the fears are from 75 years ago. Here's a new video summary:

Now back to the original post]

In his classic 1937 book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill identified the six basic fears:

1. Poverty
2. Criticism
3. Ill Health
4. Loss of Love
5. Old Age
6. Death

Are we really that different 70 years later?

We're living longer, healthier and with more money. That doesn't mean the fears are gone. Let's look at the primary fear.

#1: Fear of Poverty

"(Warren) Buffett had planned to hold onto his money until his death, but he changed his mind after his wife, Susie, died in 2004." --- Fortune, Jan 2008
The fear of poverty is widespread. Even for those with lots. Warren Buffett didn't want to donate the bulk of his wealth until his death. In contrast, Bill and Melinda Gates plan to give away 95% during their lifetimes, which is causing their children to fear there won't be enough left for them.

Here are the symptons that Hill identified

  • lack of ambition
  • tolerance for poverty
  • mental and physical laziness
  • lack of initiative, imagination, enthusiasm, self-control
  • letting others do the thinking
  • sitting on the fence
  • excuses to cover up, explain or apologize for own failures
  • envy or criticism of the successful
  • finding fault with others
  • spending beyond earnings
  • neglect of personal appearance
  • frowning; nervousness; lack of poise
  • self-consciousness
  • excess use of alcohol or other drugs
  • seeking out negatives
  • knowing all roads to disaster but none to avoid failure
  • pessimism leads to indigestion, bad breath and a bad disposition
  • putting off until tomorrow what should have been done last year
  • working on excuses rather than finishing the work
  • refusing to accept responsibility
  • compromising
(You can download Think And Grow Rich for free. However, many sites use the book as a lure to sell you something. I couldn't find a link to recommend.)

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